Sustainable partnership with veolia helps to cool aquatic treasures

Veolia Helps to Cool Aquatic Treasures

The challenge

Since 2001, Veolia has been providing 1,250 tons of district chilled water to the National Aquarium in Baltimore, where 1.3 million people visit annually.  In addition to helping cool the facilities and various exhibits, Veolia also provides electronics recycling. 

The client’s challenges are:

  • Spanning across two piers within the historic Inner Harbor seaport, the iconic National Aquarium is home to nearly 20,000 aquatic animals, with over 700 species of fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals — all requiring specific air and water temperature.

Veolia's solution

Innovative cooling technology:

  • Since fluctuations in water temperature can cause stress and harm to the animals, the Aquarium uses the district chilled water system to maintain temperatures from fluctuating more than 2-3°F from the ideal temperature requirements for each exhibit.
  • Certain species of seabirds, such as the Atlantic puffin, require cooler environments, mirroring their native habitat in the northeastern Pacific.  Using Veolia’s chilled water, the water in the Puffin exhibit is cooled to approximately 40°F and the air temperature set to a frosty 42°F.  The Pacific octopus, named Lorelai, also requires and enjoys cooler water temperatures.

Client needs:

  • To support its growing cooling needs for general spaces and various exhibits, the Aquarium required additional chilling capacity in 2001. 
  • Veolia was engaged to refurbish some of the Aquarium’s on-site heat exchangers, eliminating downtime and ensuring appropriate chilled water temperature and quality.

The benefits for our client

“Through this partnership with Veolia, we are able to maintain the comfort of our visitors and support the delicate air and water temperature requirements of our aquatic plants and animals,” said John C. Racanelli, president and CEO of the National Aquarium.  “The use of Veolia’s chilled water system and electronics recycling services stands as a testament to the National Aquarium’s focus on sustainability and supports our mission to conserve the world’s aquatic treasures.”

Goals surpassed:

  • By partnering with Veolia, the Aquarium is able to meet its cooling needs, support the cooler air and water temperature requirements of various aquatic species and further its conservation efforts through electronics recycling. 

Long-term commitment:

  • Due to Veolia’s exceptional chilled water system reliability, the Aquarium opted to supplement its cooling capacity through a long-term supply agreement.
  • For over 15 years, Veolia has delivered reliable chilled water to the National Aquarium, cooled to a precise 37°F, from its nearby centrally produced chilled water system.  Used mostly in summer months, Veolia’s chilled water is also used to offset the heat caused by guests, weather and lighting year-round.

Additional support:

  • Veolia also provides recycling of lamps and ballasts — ridding these electronics of harmful mercury.  Mercury, even in small amounts, is extremely toxic to aquatic life and humans.  Once mercury enters into the food chain, it remains indefinitely, continuing to contaminate different species of fish and animals.